• Wed, Jun 6 2012

At What Age Did You Start Shaving Your Legs?

Kristen Stewart‘s Vanity Fair interview is trickling out and some of our fellow editors are giving her some shit about it. As much as we like making fun of Stewart’s angstier affectations, we certainly don’t hate her. And, in the following soundbite from VF, she comes off as pretty relatable:

“Look at a picture of me before I was 15. I am a boy. I wore my brother’s clothes, dude! Not like I cared that much, but I remember being made fun of because I wasn’t wearing Juicy jeans. I didn’t even think about it. I wore my gym clothes. But it’s not like I didn’t care that they made fun of me. It really bothered me. I remember this girl in sixth grade looked at me in gym and was like, ‘Oh my God! That’s disgusting — you don’t shave your legs!”

Which led us to: everyone had to deal with that girl, right? One day, you’re going along, doing your thing, sitting outside at lunch eating a peanut butter sandwich in your mall shorts and thinking about after-school cartoons when all of a sudden some girl comes along and points out that you have hair on your legs. Though it has never occurred to you this is completely horrifying, it does now.

It’s not really that girl’s fault–she’s more insecure than you at that point–but the many versions of that girl (or boy) have a profound impact on our tween selves, starting a spiral of self-doubt. Soon, you’re asking your mom for a razor. Or [x] brand of trendy jeans.

Did this ever happen to you? At what age?

(It was around 12 for us)

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  • Eileen

    Yeah, I think I was around twelve, too. Spring of sixth grade?

    Oddly enough, back then I shaved my whole leg (like, all the way up my thigh) every day. These days I shave below the knee once a week or so. Maybe twice in the summer.

  • KeLynn

    I started in 5th grade. I started secretly – I’d just use my mom’s razor. I knew she wouldn’t want me to start that young, but everybody else was doing it and I didn’t want to be made fun of! (FWIW, she didn’t notice for months).

    I remember literally less than a week after I shaved for the first time, some girl poked me in class and pointed at another girl and said “she doesn’t even shave her legs, that’s disgusting” and I was SO RELIEVED I started shaving before someone said that to my face.

    I hate grade school girls.

  • Maggie

    I started shaving my underarms and legs when I was 10, fourth grade I believe. I, shall we say, “blossomed” early and made the mistake of wearing a tank top to school one day, and one of my “friends” saw my armpit hair and pointed it out to the whole class. Having 25 of your peers point and laugh at you is pretty scarring, so I went home and asked my Mom to show me how to shave!

  • Fabel

    Ugh, shaving. In my case, it was my FRIEND who was like “Eww, you’re hairy” (direct quote) I already started shaving my pits & bikini line, because my mom had been all “no bigs” about that, but for some reason she was adamant that I “wasn’t ready” to shave my legs? (I also remember her emphasizing that “Once you start shaving, YOU CAN NEVER STOP”) I stole her razor anyway & prompty shaved off a giant patch of my shin & bled everywhere. I think some time after that I was “allowed” to officially shave, which wound up being the beginning of 7th grade (so, age 12)

    • ktree

      My mom said the same thing! I started in 6th grade because I got made fun of. I was standing around with a group of girls (not my friends, I didn’t really have them, jsut class mates) wearing a new skirt that I thought was so cute and was excited about, and one of them was like, “ew, gross, you don’t shave!?” 12 year old girls are the worst kind of asshole.

  • Cee

    Just like Fabel, it was my “friend” that pointed out how hairy I was. I started shaving around 10. I couldn’t shave my bikini line then so I just always wore under shorts (boxer type) under my jeans so nobody would make fun of me while changing for gym class. Well then they just thought I was a butchy lesbian (far from butchy believe me).

    As of now I stopped shaving since… Maypril. I want to wear my dresses but am too lazy to do this right now.

  • Nancy

    I didn’t even really have hair on my legs when I started shaving them, but it was around the same time that you all did. A boy in my class in maybe the 5th grade made fun of the hair on my arms, though. So I shaved them and got made fun of even more.

  • Jamie

    Oh hai, unpleasant memories.

    Like Maggie, I was about 10 or 11 when I started shaving my legs. My mom is very fair, and her leg hair is completely invisible, so when I said something to her about how kids in my class were making fun of the dark hair on my legs (Another one for “Eeeeww you’re HAIRY!”), she kind of freaked out and dismissed the situation. My friend’s older sister was the one who showed me how to shave.

  • Steph

    I was 11, but I don’t remember exactly why I started shaving. That must mean I wasn’t made fun of. But I do remembering doing it without my mom’s permission, and I cut myself really badly. She then taught my how to do it properly. I got into a phase where I had to have constantly shaved legs, which thankfully I’ve grown out of.

    However, I remember being a few years older before my mom told me that I should shave under my arms and my pubic area.

  • Amanda Chatel

    In fifth grade my friends started shaving, but my mom wouldn’t allow it. I was “so blonde that the hair wasn’t even visible” was her justification. I begged, I pleaded and even wore nylons under shorts so I could fit in with my leg-shaving friends.

    After multiple fits, she bought me Nair because razors and I don’t mix. To this day, the smell of Nair takes me back to that moment when I first felt fabric against my “naked” legs — it was like silk! But not so silky anymore…

  • NotThumper

    I was 12. I remember thinking it was incredibly awkward trying to reach certain parts of my leg. I can recall sitting in the tub hollering to my mother to come help me get the back of my legs.
    I’ve always had very dark hair and so my legs were/are no exception. Now if only I could ditch the 5 o’clock shadow they seem to have.
    Seriously, if the hair on my head grew as fast as the hair on my legs I’d look like Cousin It in a week! ;)

  • Lindsey

    14. In 8th grade. Years and years after everyone else. My mom thought I was too young. Although my leg hair was blonde it was super thick. The legs only mortified me during EVERY DAY GYM FUCK YOU ILLINOIS. However, my armpits were the worst. I had to steal a razor, but before then I would cover my pit with a sleeve and my hand during class so it wouldn’t flop down and accidentally expose my hairy pits.

    When I have a child the day he or she asks for a razor I’m buying one and giving a tutorial.

  • lauren

    I started shaving my legs in the 3rd grade, about 9 years old. I had very light skin and dark hair, due to a hormone imbalence. My sister was 2 years older than me and she had been shaving her legs in secret for like a year. She never went to my mom and asked her for permission, even when it came time for her to wear bras!! So I went to my mom and ‘Innocently’ told on my sister and asked her if I could shave my legs, and she let me, but not past my knees. And my sister got in trouble. haha. For armpits it was about 6th grade and I was picked on severly about my arm hair, so I finally gave in to that around the 7th grade, bikini area at the end of 8th grade, and i started getting my upper lip waxed at 16. People can be very mean, especially boys!!! I`m pretty much am hairless now.

  • Sabrina

    So I know this is going to make my mom sound horrible, but she’s really not, I promise! But she suggested I start shaving my legs… I didn’t address it first. I can’t remember exactly what age, but it was right around the tail end of elementary school, so probably 11 or 12. My mom is kinda a girly girl (she is a makeup and hair artist who rocks!) so she was always showing us how to do fun makeup and stuff, but definitely never pushed it on us. But it kinda came about like “whenever you want to start shaving, let me know and I’ll show you how to do it properly.” (this was also her lead in to birth control) and I was like “ok!” and there you have it. I also have a vague recollection of making fun of my best friend one day when I noticed how hairy her legs were, so I guess I’m kind of that asshole. I don’t want to be though, I hope no one but me remembers that.

  • Olivia

    I’m Irish (we’re not the hairiest of people), and any hair on my legs is pretty unnoticeable. Completely blonde, though I’m not even blonde, and I can go about a month between shaves. I have absolutely no hair on my arms at all, so really I guess I’m pretty fortunate.
    But to answer your question, I was sitting in seventh grade math class when I go “Hmm… my legs are kinda hairy, maybe I should shave them.” I don’t think my mom even noticed.

  • pjs

    It was classmate who pointed out my hairy legs to me too… but it was a MALE classmate, and I was in FOURTH grade. Ugh.

  • Nixifer

    Tail end of third grade, age 9 and a 1/2. I’ve always been a nosy little thing and I was nosing through the cabinet under my dad’s sink and I found a new blue, 2-blade Gillette razor. I shaved my legs out of sheer curiosity. Dry. =/
    I didn’t cut myself though, and I’ve been shaving since.
    I never got permission; I had dark hair and lighter (not pale) skin, so I figured I was justified.
    I just started epilating recently, because I have had a 5′o clock shadow issue since puberty. It’s INCREDIBLY painful, but now I can be lazy with my razor =D

  • Mary

    I started shaving my legs when I was barely 10. I have dark hair, light skin, and my full name, unfortunately, can be twisted slightly to rhyme with “hairy arms”. My mom bought me a razor and said I could start shaving whenever I wanted. I did, immediately after she gave it to me. I think she was trying to spare me the teasing that would be inevitable. Despite my name, I never shaved my arms…it seemed like more trouble than it was worth. Thankfully, chlorine from being a swimmer, and all the sun from being outside a lot, bleached my arm hair enough to make it not as noticeable during the summer when short sleeves/tank tops were necessary, the rest of the year I just wore long sleeves

  • Reena

    I started shaving my legs when i was 18, but i noticed it easily grows back. At 19 i started using hair wax. I recommend Veet =)

  • woo

    See, I’m the opposite of being teased for not shaving. I was the only darker girl in a group of white blondies, so I started shaving basically as soon as I was in high school, and then my friends started teasing me because I did shave!

    I say friends, but nobody’s your friend when you’re twelve :’(

  • Tiffany

    I am above the age of 12 and I have a razor that my mom gave me but I haven’t started shaving yet..